May Is Mental Health Awareness Month
I recently came across this article from National Catholic Partnership on Disability.
“One pastoral need facing the family as well as the parish family and larger community is the need for a better understanding of mental illness – what a mental illness is and what it is not. Mental illness is a biological brain disorder – physical disorder, not a choice, not a weakness, and not bad parenting.
Mental illness can be life-threatening and disabling for the patient and life-changing and traumatic for the family. People with a significant mental illness such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and major depression have a disturbance of brain chemistry. Irregular brain function causes people with these diseases to perceive their environment differently. With the onset of these diseases come difficulties in thinking, concentration, and organization.
Mental illnesses are treatable. With appropriate effective medication and a wide range of services tailored to their needs, most people who live with serious mental illnesses will be able to find a reduction in symptoms and a more satisfying measure of achievement and independence.
People with mental illness and their families face a stigma that they somehow caused this and are at fault and is a sign of disgrace. Somehow, they are not as good or smart as others. Mental illness, despite research, learning, and education, is still perceived by many people as a character flaw, a moral fault, or a sign of weakness, rather than what it is – a disease of the brain.”